Tilburg University Lecture Hall

A Circular Cube

Tilburg University’s new lecture hall is the Netherlands’ first mass timber-built academic building and a pioneering example of circular design. The new energy-neutral building sits on a small footprint of 33 x 33 meters, and contains 14 lecture rooms, selfstudy areas and a foyer. Set within a wooded landscape, the lecture hall’s timeless form echoes the existing Modernist structures on the campus.

Time span2019 - ongoing
Size5 000 m²
LocationTilburg, NL
TypePublic Spaces, Sustainability
Tilburg University
Partner in charge
Stefan Prins
Partner in charge
Project lead
Project team
Rafael Zarza García
Robert Cuijpers
Landscape architect
Urban planner
Structural engineer
MEP consultant
Building physics
Mobility consultant
Cost consultant
Sustainability consultant
Geotechnical Engineer
Expanses of glass flood the cafe with daylight

Together with our client, we upped our ambition during the design process resulting in a carbon neutral, completely circular, and BREEAM Outstanding design.

Triumph in Timber

Front and side facades, with different treatments based on orientation

Triumph in Timber

We tackled significant design challenges to realize the mostly cross-laminated timber structure – like the wooden rib floors that span a groundbreaking 9 meters while meeting the complex demands required by an educational building. The dry construction system employs 4.6 kilometers of timber beams that are demountable for future reuse. Additionally, hanging the limestone façade panels, rather than gluing them, allows the stone to be recycled too.

From action to contemplation

Ground floor

First floor

Second floor

Third floor



The lecture hall breathes the atmosphere of the library and the monastery, in line with the original Modernist buildings on the campus.

Contemplative Calm

Exposed timber with bespoke wooden furniture and lighting

Contemplative Calm

Inside, as with the Cobbenhagen building, the fixtures and furniture are intrinsic parts of the design. A natural palette is used throughout – wood, stone, and plaster – from the lofty sculptural space of the lecture hall, to intimate window niches. Besides the exposed structural timber, simple wooden tables, benches, and cruciform reading lamps exude a sense of serenity and calm. Expansive windows allow natural light to flood the space while playfully capturing a range of views, some unexpected – the sky, a single tree, or people walking to the campus.

Timeless tranquility

Simple wooden furniture
Windows playfully capture a range of views
01 - 02
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Dive into the details
Lessons in Living, Learning, and Working in Wood
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